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photo: Imogen Cunningham
Counterbalance Poetry is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donations are gratefully accepted and are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Counterbalance presents the esteemed Northwest poet, David Wagoner, in this candid reflection on his friend and mentor, UW professor Theodore Roethke. This intimate discussion will introduce the audience to the poet and teacher Wagoner has recalled in his new play, “First Class,” which will begin previews July 27 and open August 2 at ACT Theatre in Seattle. In the play, John Aylward as Roethke takes the audience into the remarkable classroom Wagoner remembers.
Wagoner edited Straw for the Fire (Copper Canyon Press, 1972-2006), selections from the 277 notebooks filled by Roethke to the time of his death in 1963. Wagoner was a student of Roethke’s and had been a colleague at the University of Washington for ten years by 1963. The notebooks, Wagoner wrote in the introduction to Straw for the Fire, “show the most wholehearted, energetic, even uncanny devotion to poetry I have ever known of, an apparently almost total commitment of time and attention.” Roethke taught at the University of Washington from 1947 to 1963 where he was a mentor not only to Wagoner but to many Northwest poets. Roethke, Wagoner has written, “was one of the truly phenomenal creative sources in American poetry.”
David Wagoner has published 17 books of poems, most recently Good Morning and Good NIght (U. of Illinois Press, 2005) and ten novels, one of which, The Escape Artist, was made into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola. He won the Lilly Prize in 1991 and has won six yearly prizes from Poetry (Chicago). He was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets for 23 years. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and twice for the National Book Award. He edited Poetry Northwest from 1966 to its end in 2002. He is professor emeritus of English at the University of Washington.
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